Sunday, July 1, 2012

Magpie Tales: Power-less

Ophelia by Odilion Redon

At a shop, on the edge
of the city, we gather like refugees

at 103, the day
was a hard master,
the sick sweet smell of sweaty bodies
permeates even the aroma
of brewing coffee, Ophelia
flowers in our hair

20 - 30 of us vie for four
power outlets, re-charging
laptops, cell phones, (any communi-
-cation with the outside world
to validate) our-
selves, now

that night has descended. At ten
they apologize, but kick us out

& as their light winks
our darkness is complete, each

in-different directions toward home, our cars
cut swaths through still streets,
all windows black
& no faces

written for Magpie Tales



Process Note: The use of flowers in the hair, as well as the white shift and disheveled appearance, in early theatre would have represented madness.

No telling when we might have power back at this point, the target seems to change with the hour. A week or two maybe. The heat is the worse and trying to keep cool. Everything in the fridge is waste, so today well get non perishable staples.

There are a few places that are cooling shelters that also have wifi, so I am around when i am there as a brief escape. See you soon. Smiles.

82 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

Considering the circumstances, you've painted a subdued and pensive mood! That last line validates that mood.....

Gail said...

Good creation but sad circumstances. Thinking of you and your family. Power to the people!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

WOW, glad you're ok, thinking of you and praying for you and those in your community!

Daniel said...

This sounds miserable. More than that just being uncomfortable and grouchy, this kind of condition can lead to a few deaths among the oldest of us. I pray that things are restored for all of you soon.

Heather said...

amazing...even in the dark! i am glad you are ok...but i know how frustrating this can be - you may have to head north with the fam!
ill keep you and your family in my thoughts!

Heather said...

amazing...even in the dark! i am glad you are ok...but i know how frustrating this can be - you may have to head north with the fam!
ill keep you and your family in my thoughts!

JANU said...

Cool...as to how you keep up with your writing commitments under the circumstances you are in. Bravo!

Catfish Tales said...

I couldn't get the colours of background and text right. So I cut & pasted what still didn't work out what I wanted. Hopefully, you can still read it all right. Let me know if you can't. Cheers

Tess Kincaid said...

I'm without power too...living at my son's place until AEP sorts things out...they say it will be five to seven days...at this point I'm very happy to be sitting in cool AC with internet access...I can relate to your poem all too well today...

brenda w said...

Hang in there, Brian. If the daily crisis of life is handing you poems like this...embrace the pain, dude. Embrace it!

Suz said...

Brenda stole my thunder....
take care....your making memories in everything you do...

Catfish Tales said...

Oh, what powerful imagery of modern America disenfranchised and not wanting to go home. I was reminded of a favourite Hemingway short: 'A Clean, Well-lighted Place'.

Jenny Woolf said...

sick sweet. That just describes the smell of a mass of sweaty bodies. You have such skill with language.

Hannah said...

Oh, Brian...such a scary feeling really and just wishing you to be home and with power. You captured the out-of-sorted-ness and dishevelment of this situation so very well. Smiles to you, Brian.

Daydreamertoo said...

Darn, that's a long time to be without power and in such dreadful heat too. I hope it's sooner than they are predicting for you all.
I read that the storm left millions without power. SMH
Happy that you are able to go somewhere to at least re-charge your electronics. Sad about the food in the fridge being wasted, especially when it's so expensive.
Your positive outlook is amazing!
Loved the prose.

manicddaily said...

Agh, Brian - that is terrible. Are they able to distribute ice? Watermelons!? (I say that last as not a very good joke) but fruit at least would be refreshing.

You still manage to write about it all quite beautifully. I hope today is cooler.

k.

ayala said...

Praying for you and your community..sorry.

Pat Hatt said...

Curled my nose up at the sweat
Irk my ocd you can bet
Sounds like it it time for a trip
Somewhere where the power doesn't blip
Weeks before it comes back too?
Wow that would be horrible with the heat coming due
But beats cold I suppose
At least you won't freeze your toes

Kay said...

fantastic piece....sorry to hear of all your problems..hope they get it sorted out soon for you and your community xx

kaykuala said...

Brian,
Noble of you to stay connected under such trying times! I would wish power to be restored immediately to give you back a normal life. A great verse!

Hank

Claudia said...

you capture the surreality of this esp. with the last stanza so well...kept thinking throughout the day..when i opened the fridge..when i cooked lunch...i couldn't do this without power and it kinda scares me how dependent we are..

Yvonne Osborne said...

Brian,
Nice take on the prompt. I can see the cafe and anxious people and the sweat on foreheads. The madness of this heatwave. I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. At least we have power and keep cool with fans in this old brick house. Take care

Laurel's Quill said...

brian, the weather is bizarre everywhere... Thanks for the info on the "madness" denoted in the painting...cause when you read mine, I kinda went in that direction. Have a blessed Sunday!

Other Mary said...

It's scary just how vulnerable we are when Mom decides to get tough with us. Hope you aren't suffering too much longer. Um, and the poem is outstanding, imo.

Helen said...

Brian .. you, only you ... could take a catastrophe like this and turn it into an amazing poem! Be safe, stay cool.

izzy said...

Cool and dark- at least shade!
Madness eh? well I guess we know a little of that. Never expect power to go on 'soon'- it doesn't usually. We have had a generator for years now
( you have to have gas tho-)Tiz MAH-velous to have coffee, a fan and water ( if you have a well) Hope you can get out to cooling stations-

Mama Zen said...

I really like the mood of this.

Paige + Shauna said...

perfect pitch, brian. and sad
commentary on how humans search
for human contact when it is
right in front of each of us.

Dana Dampier said...

Praying that you and your family will have power and AC returned soon. I'm sending cooling thoughts your way...

Laurie Kolp said...

I'm so sorry it might take that long to get the power back, will keep my fingers crossed that it's sooner. Have you considered going to visit relatives? That has been our mainstay after hurricanes.

Linda said...

Brian, Sending hopes and dreams that you are back on the grid sooner than you think. I will count my blessings here, as I am made aware once again that life can change in a flash! Your poem is telling. May your Ophelia flowers blossom into a rose garden ASAP. =D

Linda said...

Brian, Sending hopes and dreams that you are back on the grid sooner than you think. I will count my blessings here, as I am made aware once again that life can change in a flash! Your poem is telling. May your Ophelia flowers blossom into a rose garden ASAP. =D

Anne said...

You've painted a sad picture Brian. LonOuely souls seeking contact with the outside world while seeming to not notice the other 40 people standing beside them.

The heat does strange things to people and we've a full moon coming as well. I hope our heat wave breaks before then as I've got some rather dangerous people living on my street.

wood said...

as always, very well written my friend.

sounds pretty miserable where you're at. just click your heels together three times and say "there's no place like a walk-in freezer, there's no place like a walk-in freezer, there's no place like a walk-in freezer"

Tara Miller said...

I like! Our new reality for now....every day an adventure. I agree with the others, your words had a very subdued undertone. Nice how everyone comes together at times like these though since we can all find common ground....

Kathe W. said...

holy mackrel- what a poem- and created under such dire circumstances......wishing you some cool days

Friko said...

Hope all is well with you. I admire you, even a disaster like this inspires you to writing poetry.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Hope the power is back soon Brian...although you muse seems quite content with the blackout.

Siggi in Downeast Maine said...

Brian,
Exceptional interpretation of the prompt to speak of the conditions your life is experiencing at the moment.

Thank you...
word pictures conveyed your situation and I hope you take advantage of a cooling shelter if you can...
Will keep you and all around you in my thoughts and prayers.

Peace,
Siggi in Downeast Maine

rosemary mint said...

This is amazing:

"as their light winks
our darkness is complete"

And, oh, your last stanza is so good.

Love the sound in this section as well:

"a hard master,
the sick sweet smell of sweaty bodies"

Linda said...

You tell a good story in so few words Brian. I'm sorry y'all are having such troubles.

Tabor said...

I have sheltered some this weekend that are without that magic juice. So sorry. It looks like a long wait in this heat. Wish you could come by and charge here.

Matt said...

Glad everyone is ok, my friend was out of power too, rough times.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Being powerless is such debilitating feeling! A sense of being disconnected with the familiar - as Ophelia's madness was so disconnected with her innocence! A graphic poem so connected with disconnections!

Stafford Ray said...

Living where weather is usually benign, I often wonder at how you cope! You do by writing excellent poetry.
The scene where you are as refugees, but are sent away at closing time resonates with how I think refugees must feel everywhere when they are refused a safe haven.

PattiKen said...

I've been thinking about you. A VA friend told me Roanoke wasn't exected to get power back until July 7! Hope yours is back before then.

Mary said...

Oh Lord, Brian! I had not realized it would take so long to get power back. That has to be awful, especially with the extreme heat and everything wasted in the fridge and no internet. I am so sorry for you and everyone else in your predicament there.

Ravenblack said...

When power gets taken away, so does a certain sense of identity, since we are so tied to being connected and having a profile. We would gather at power outlets like moths to lamps, I guess.

Hope you guys get power back asap.

turtlememoir said...

2 weeks w/o power??! but you seem to be putting a good face on it, good for you - for sure your inner poet is not suffering, judging from the quality of this poem and the previous one ;)

Heaven said...

I didn't realize how bad it is Brian ~ I hope everything will be back to normal very soon ~

Hope all is well ~

flaubert said...

I am sorry to hear about your troubles, Brian. Two weeks without power seems like a lifetime. Good write. I am wishing the best for you and those in your area.

Pamela

Janice said...

I've been reading about the heat and outages...awful. But, leave it to you: You've created another masterpiece.

Neva Flores said...

the line....all windows black and no faces stays with me. I find myself repeating it and thinking deeply.....wonderful poetry Brian.

Pranita said...

I love it how you interpret the picture so innovatively! Loved the poem :)

Valerie said...

I tried to visualise what it would be like without power and failed miserably. My experiences of power cuts have been over and done with in an hour... so my heart bleeds for all of you. I don't think I'll ever complain again.....

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Well done! Glad you're okay. Good luck with everything!

Jyoti Mishra said...

in-different directions toward home, our cars
cut swaths through still streets,
all windows black
& no faces

Loved the concluding verse..
contemplative post Brian !!
awesome read..

Leovi said...

Bueno, es un tipo de locura más deprimente. Hay otras locuras que despliegan mucha energía. No olvides tu visita a la nevera.

Lyn said...

Wonderful, much to think about...how did we survive till the 20th century?

SueAnn Lommler said...

Beautiful poems...aptly describes your current situation as well as the painting.

Hugs
SueAnn

Grandmother said...

I join the legion of well wishers as you experience this blistering heat and lack of power. That you can still write so well in the midst of it all- amazing!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Very good Brian - hope the power returns soon.

Anna :o]

Myrna R. said...

Brian, you're such a dedicated poet and blogger. Thank you for keeping us posted about your situation.

Hope things get better soon. You're in my prayers.

Helena said...

It certainly hasn't put a damper on your creative flow, Brian, and I, too, send hopeful wishes your way!

^.^ said...

You seem to follow a certain protocol when writing poetry ... write from your heart every now and then ... I met Ophelia in some other blogs ... just saying, eh/ love your work anyway, B ... Always, cat.

Sue said...

We lost our power for ten days several years ago. It was in the winter: we were cold, not hot.

Preferable, I think, but miserable nonetheless.

Wishing you rapid resolution...!

=)

Fred Rutherford said...

oh, how cool. I was just thinking about the relation to the symbolism here, and then you mention it in the notes…very cool. And the use of numbers in here is outstanding.

robkistner said...

...breathe deep, but not too... there was an engaging calm to the agitation and frustration of this piece Brian...

Goofball said...

situation must make a new sense of community ?

Goofball said...

silly me, I didn't even figure that all phones would die also after a while. Help.

Raven said...

Brian ... I was there with you. As I said to Tess I really have always loved seeing what different poets express as their take on the prompt. Maybe because her prompts are excellent ... ah like the poets responding. So ... you are without electric ...?... If so hoping it comes on soon.


My Magpie Tales is at my Crows Fete blog at: http://crowsfete.blogspot.com/2012/07/magpie-tales-124.html

zongrik said...

i've got to say that this one is my favorite of ours that you really painted a beautiful picture here of community and what we need and how we share

Magpie said...

This is a hard reality you're dealing with right now. At least there are some places of refuge.

Sreeja said...

Nice....you bought a different view for this painting.....unique....we too had some problems like this recently......

Ginny Brannan said...

Thank goodness for refuge with Wi-Fi!! We were in Carlisle, PA over the weekend and had some wild thundershowers come through. Heard that many points around D.C. and south were really hit and without power. Hope all is back up and running soon, if not already!! :-)

Lolamouse said...

Poor Brian! Amazing that you can even think, much less write, in that heat! You never cease to inspire!

Little Nell said...

You’ve painted a grim picture. Im glad to see the creative spark is still alight in the darkness!

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Oh, you poor thing. I hope things are better today! (And, yes, you guessed the photo correctly. I should have known. :-))

Tumblewords: said...

Surely a powerful take on the current situation!

Gerry Snape said...

today we have been promised a flood...I'm so sorry for the state that you are all in...but what a great response to such a bad time.geat words.

my heart's love songs said...

i can't believe now they're telling you another week or two! i thought we were a technologically advanced society!

hang in there! so glad you can get a little relief and a little online contact. stay sane!!

thanks for explaining about the Ophelia flowers... i probably should start wearing them in my hair... {smile}